Floor Games

In 1912, H.G. Wells wrote a little book called "Floor Games." It's about his experiences playing with his two sons. Though it's style is mannered (as you would expect from a book written almost a hundred years ago), it reflects a profound understanding of how to play with children - profound enough to be the inspiration for many of the basic concepts of Play Therapy. At first glance, because of the liberal use of toy soldiers, it seems like he and his sons are playing war games. The fact is, they're just playing - building cities and islands, ships and trains, weaving fantasies into new levels of intimacy between father and son.

What struck me as especially relevant to our focus on junkyard sports was how Wells describes the integration of found objects into their amazingly complex structures:
"That temple has a flat roof, diversified by domes made of half Easter eggs and cardboard cones. These are surmounted by decorative work of a flamboyant character in plasticine, designed by G. P. W. An oriental population crowds the courtyard and pours out upon the roadway. Note the grotesque plasticine monsters who guard the portals, also by G. P. W., who had a free hand with the architecture of this remarkable specimen of eastern religiosity. They are nothing, you may be sure, to the gigantic idols inside, out of the reach of the sacrilegious camera. To the right is a tropical thatched hut. The thatched roof is really that nice ribbed paper that comes round bottles --- a priceless boon to these games. All that comes into the house is saved for us. The owner of the hut lounges outside the door. He is a dismounted cavalry-corps man, and he owns one cow. His fence, I may note, belonged to a little wooden farm we bought in Switzerland."

The kind of junkly play Wells describes could easily be applied to the creation of miniature Astrodomes and Wimbledons and the evolution of yet another deeply playworthy arena for junkyard sports.

Wells' book is also available online.

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